Azure Services: Extending the Silversands IoT System

By Andrew Petty on

Earlier this year we published a blog article about IoT and created a simple IoT proof of concept (POC) to demonstrate some of the capabilities of Azure IoT.

Azure provides flexible, scalable solutions.

The application development team at Silversands wanted to take this basic POC to the next level and show a live display of the data being recorded via some dynamic charts on our website. This blog demonstrates the results and enables you to see the light and temperature levels currently in our office. Not earth shattering information but it does demonstrate how Azure Services can be employed to provide flexible and scalable solutions that can be delivered in a relatively small timescale.

In our initial POC we used Power BI to display the graphs for internal use. On this occasion, this technology could not be used as it does not support live updates with embedded charts. This meant we needed to employ a custom solution to provide the desired output.

Azure Stream Analytics.

Utilising Azure Stream Analytics it made it relatively easy to add additional components to our existing IoT architecture and did not require further redevelopment.

The Result

The charts below show light and temperature. The top graph provides trend information and shows data for the last 24 hours and is updated every 48 minutes. The second and most dynamic, shows the data for the last 2 minutes and is updated every 4 secs.

[widget id=”ss_chart_widget-2″]
[widget id=”ss_chart_widget-3″]

The Solution

The charts above are the result of extending the previous solution with the following components.

  • Azure Stream Analytics to pass data to a SQL database
  • An Azure SQL Database to store telemetry data
  • A Node.js REST API deployed to an Azure App Service
  • A WordPress plugin to create a chart widget connected to the REST API
  • An Azure Automation job, to purge old data from the SQL database.

The image below shows the architecture that we are now employing.

Silversands IoT Architecture
Silversands IoT Architecture


Even though the application of Azure services is, in this case, a bit of fun, hopefully it highlights the power of Azure services and provides an insight into Silversands’ skill set.

Azure enables modular apps spanning IaaS and PaaS

The services that Microsoft now provide within Azure enable really powerful and importantly scalable applications to be developed in considerably less time than it would have traditionally taken. Azure enables us to build modular applications that span IaaS and PaaS which can be extended as required.

Azure can also be employed to improve, extend and even replace line of business applications (LOB apps). We have had a number of interesting engagements where we are looking to extend traditional on premises solutions into Azure so information and data can be consumed by other people, applications or even other businesses.

We have also been speaking to customers in relation to IoT and how the various Azure services such IoT Hub, Stream Analytics, App Service, Logic Apps, Service Bus and Power BI can be used to extend current products or solutions.  A big area of interest is where Azure IoT can enable new services to be realised from existing products. This enables customers to offer improved user experience, greater functionality from their products, and potentially provide an area to further monetise a product.

In a later blog article we will walk through each component employed in this POC and explain what it does and why it was used.

Contact Silversands.

If you want to find out more about Silversands’ application developed skills, Azure, IoT or anything else related to this blog please contact on us on the form below.  We would love to discuss how we can work with you to realise your ambitions with Microsoft Azure and Silversands development skills.

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